Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Environmental Communication: Politics, Science, Activism, and the Media
Code COMM304
Coordinator Dr A Wozniak
Communication and Media
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 15


This module aims at enabling students to better understand the strategic nature of stakeholder communication on the environment, the challenges that journalists and other content providers face in communicating the complexities of environmental issues, and the variegated effects different modalities and frames of environmental communication can have on audiences. The module also aims to expand students' expertise in critically engaging with the significance and characteristics of power dynamics in mediated debates and political communication more generally. Finally the module aims to develop students' skills in conducting their own empirical, theory-driven, and critical analyses of communicating texts.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to identify the main issues as well as the core concepts and perspectives from the academic field of environmental communication.

(LO2) Students will be able to understand the role of power dynamics between different types of actors - political, economic, scientific, societal, and journalistic - in the mediated debates on environmental issues.

(LO3) Students will be able to analyse and critically evaluate mass media portrayals as well as campaign communications of environmental issues.

(LO4) Students will be able to predict and evaluate the effects of different types of journalistic and strategic frames of environmental issues on regular audience members as well as decision-makers.

(LO5) Students will be able to design and implement their own empirical case study based on theoretical considerations and utilizing established methods of data collection, data analysis, and data visualization.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving skills.

(S2) Written communication skills.

(S3) Communication skills - critical debate and argumentation.

(S4) Analytical skills and data literacy.



The overall structure of the module will be less driven by environmental topics (eg climate change, plastic pollution, green energy) than by underlying themes relating to stakeholder communication, media representations, and media effects. This approach aims to ensure that the students gain the conceptual understanding and analytical skills necessary for obtaining their degree.

The individual weeks - except the introduction in week 1 and the module review in week 12 - will deal with the following issues (exact order subject to change):

• communicating the environmental sciences
• government PR of environmental policies
• environmental journalism
• ENGOs’ (environmental non-governmental organisations) campaigns
• ENGOs in the news (‘information subsidies’)
• media framing of the environment
• framing environmental activism
• the visual politics of climate change
• the media and public opinion
• corporate greenwash

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching method: Asynchronous lecture
Description: Pre-recorded lectures will provide students with foundational knowledge of theories, concepts, empirical findings, relevant actors, etc. for each week’s topic. They will also include discussions and links to additional contextual content such as news articles, campaign materials, documentaries, expert interviews, etc.
Schedule directed student hours: one hour/week
Attendance recorded: No

Teaching method: Synchronous online workshop
Description: Workshops will provide students with an opportunity to discuss set readings and work in groups to generally engage with each week's topic. They will also include time devoted to assessment preparation and skills development.
Schedule directed student hours: one hour/ week
Attendance recorded: Yes

Unscheduled directed student hours: 128
Self-directed learning: These hours should be used to do the assigned weekly readings, prepare for clas ses, and do the research and analysis required for assessment.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           22

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 128


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Learning diary  Length: 1500 words (    40       
Case study analysis from a selection of cases of media reporting and environmental campaigns. There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL late submission penalties apply.  Length: 2000 words (    60       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.